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Rwanda eases COVID-19 lockdown in capital

Lockdown in Kigali led to slowdown in transmission rate of virus, says health official

James Tasamba   | 08.02.2021
Rwanda eases COVID-19 lockdown in capital

KIGALI, Rwanda

Rwanda on Monday allowed resumption of businesses in the capital Kigali with essential staff, not more than 30%, as the country began easing its second coronavirus lockdown in the capital.

The lockdown was imposed in the capital on Jan. 18, following a surge in new COVID-19 cases.

Ahead of Monday’s easing of the lockdown restrictions, the Health Ministry conducted COVID-19 tests for drivers of public passenger vehicles and commercial motorcycle riders to determine the prevalence of the virus across the city.

“The lockdown in Kigali led to a slowdown in the transmission rate of the virus and eased pressure on health workers,” said Tharcisse Mpunga, the Rwandan state minister for primary health care.

“The new daily COVID-19 cases in Kigali reduced from an average of around 200 before the lockdown to between 50 and 60 patients currently,” Mpunga added.

The minister called on the public to strictly follow coronavirus safety protocols.

Official COVID-19 figures released last week indicated that from Jan. 1 to 29, students were the most infected group of people with 1,167 infections, followed by farmers with 969, traders 812, health personnel 536, and teachers with 184 infections.

According to Julien Niyingabira, a Health Ministry spokesperson, the figures were a reflection that the pandemic is in every sector, which calls for everyone’s responsibility to prevent its spread.

As of Feb.7, Rwanda accumulated 16,451 cases of COVID-19, with 3,889 active cases and 220 deaths.

Up to 95% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in Rwanda are being treated under home-based care, according to the Health Ministry.

Meanwhile, public employees will continue to work from home until Feb. 22 except for those providing essential services, while churches, bars, and schools remain closed.

The country’s land borders also remain closed and movement between the capital and the provinces is still restricted. A night curfew also remains in place from 7:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. (1700-0200GMT).

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